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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

five am

really? we were just getting into a cycle of "sleeping in" around here. the mornings were dark and cold and all three girls were sleeping past seven snuggled in the warmth of their beds. thank you, daylight savings for completely bursting my bubble. claire is now consistently up at 5 everyday (5:10 today, she was kind enough to give me and extra ten minutes). i have tried everything this week to break the cycle....late naps, early naps, late bedtime, early bedtime....nothing is working! as i lie with her in the mornings in the stillness trying to will both of us to go back to sleep, i can't help but think that my days with little ones are numbered...that before i know it the girls will be teenagers and won't need me in the same way....and that the obstacles i face in raising them will make me long for the days when 5 am wake up calls were as hard as it got. so, at least for today, i'm trying to be patient with her and soak in all of her two year old cuteness that i know won't last forever. maybe before long i'll start looking forward to 5am and my chance to be alone with her. maybe??

Sunday, November 7, 2010

just wanna blog about it....

I am in such a state of joy in my life right now that I can't help but write about it. This move has been such a transforming time in my life...I am like clay in the potter's hands. While they were not inherently bad things, many of the defining parts of my life over the last several years have been taken away from me in this move. Being stripped of many of the people and things that were defining who I am have left me moldable...and I am loving the new shape that is taking place. I love the quiet stillness of having all the distractions removed that allows me to experience God in a whole new way. I can see His hand at work in all the corners of my life and I am thankful for this season that He's provided that allows me to cling to Him and His word. God is near and he is good!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

trick or treat!!

Another Halloween has come and gone! We had a great night trick or treating with the girls. It was fun to trick or treat in some cool weather for a change, and the orange leaf covered streets and sidewalks were the perfect backdrop!! Claire made it as far as the house next door and that's when she basically quit. Ryan and I took turns carrying her all over town...she let us put her down at each house to bashfully collect her candy and then jumped right into our arms once she obtained her goods. The big girls had so much fun running from house to house and used perfect trick or treating manners :) After a while, they had had enough and were ready to head back home and warm up and eat dinner and pass out some candy themselves. The best part of my night may have been after dinner when Claire and Mad were too beat to go out again but Emma got her second wind and was ready for a little more. We went out trick or treating for a while, just the two of us and I got to enjoy some one on one time walking up and down the street hand in hand with my little girl listening all about halloween from the perspective of a six year old :) She loved to examine each of the houses on the street and try to determine based on the lights, decorations, etc whether the people were home or not and found it very thoughtful when the people who weren't home or had run out of candy put a sign on the door to let everyone know. Her monologue was pretty entertaining...how I love those rare moments when everything and everyone else fades away and I can soak in my girls one at a time.

Friday, October 29, 2010

falling for fall

I've always loved the change of seasons. It's funny how I grew up my whole life with them and after being gone for several years it's as thought I'm experiencing it for the first time. Fall is breathtaking. The colors of the trees baffle me...I find myself driving through town just to soak in the beauty of what surrounds me. There is a tree on my street whose colors are so shocking...almost irridecent...so beautiful that I have actually saw a person get out of his car and stand in the middle of the street just to photograph it. I love that leaves fall and collect like firey snow....on the sidewalk, on parked cars. On my run the other night, I ran right through a sidewalk covered in orange leaves...beautiful. I always love this time of year...Halloween, Thanksgiving, pumpkins and hayrides. I usually love fall mostly because I know that Christmas is following in it's footsteps. This year I'm trying to love it for what it is and savor each day of the beauty...for the first time in my life...Christmas can wait.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the FULLness of life

small house + small gym = small body. big house + big gym = big body?? For the past several years, my house has been small, my kids have been climbing on top of each other and my small gym has been my great escape. And I have to say, it had been working pretty well for me. What better way to escape the annoyance of cranky kids fighting with each other in close quarters than to bring them to the gym where I can escape and work out with my friends while they play with theirs? We did this. A lot. A whole lot. It's easy to maintain being a size zero when you live at the gym. Not so much when you never go. At first when we moved, I was just too busy unpacking and getting settled to get to there. Now I'm just too content. My house is big and spacious, the kids have room to play. I would much rather be at home baking or decorating while the kids play contentedly upstairs than drag them out just to get a mediocre workout in a room full of strangers. This is not working so well for me. I am not one of those who is blessed with a good metabolism. I eat a brownie, my jeans don't fit the next day. Period. I am currently like a sausage, squeezing my no longer a size zero butt into my size zero jeans because I refuse to accept the fact that this is the new me. You know the term "fat and happy"? It doesn't exist. Not for me. Happiness may be what leads to fatness, but with fatness there is no happiness. So there. I may have to find new ways to get myself motivated and keep it interesting, but deep inside, there is still that love of working out and the adrenaline rush that comes with it and I refuse to let it die. And more importantly, I refuse to succumb to mom jeans.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2, 4 and 6

It's been so long, that it's time for an update on the girls. Enough said.

Emma is in 1st grade and is loving life. She still has her moments of jealousy towards Madeline and complete attitude, but overall she's extremely happy. For the first time since Claire was born, Emma has her own room. She is in her glory. The walls are all decorated with her artwork and the night table is piled high with her books. When she gets tired or overwhelmed, she loves to just escape to her room. She is such an introvert, and it has been great for her to have that space to herself. She can sit up there for hours crafting at her desk or reading to herself. She has developed a love of reading...she reads chapter books (the Rainbow Fairy series is her fave!) and reads long stories to her sisters at night. She also holds a school/camp for them that is hilarious. She reads to them, does crafts with them, teaches them and throws some exercise in every now and then :) She is in the art club at school and is absolutely loving it. She is begging to take piano lessons also. These two things are perfect for her...she has always had such a strong creative side. She rides the bus and does all of those little "Miss Mary Mack" type hand gesture songs that little girls do...it amazed me how many she has learned and how quickly she can sing them and do the motions. Madeline is loving learning them from her. Her best friend is Isabella. They sit together on the bus, have playdates after school and go to Kingdom Kids together. I am so thankful that she has found a good friend and one that lives three houses away. Since we've moved, Ryan has started the habit of reading the Bible with her at bedtime and I love to overhear them during that time....it is so precious to me. She has (finally!) developed an obsession with American Girl and I cannot wait to start Christmas shopping for her this year! Her top two teeth are wiggly and the one on the left looks like it will fall out any day. The shift in her teeth because of the looseness is changing her appearance and making her look older :( She's a sweet little girl who's sometimes unsure of herself and needs a little extra love :)

Madeline is her usual happy go lucky self. She is absolutely in love with being in school...she would move right in if she could. The four day weekends are hard for her...she asks everyday how soon she can go back. Of anyone, Madeline is the one who missed Florida the most. She misses her friends (Layla to be specific) and the things that are familiar to her. Every now and then she asks why we will live here for a long time and not go back. It breaks my heart that she is such a lover and misses everyone, but I draw peace from the fact that she is little and resilient. She has a love/hate relationship with the fact that she now shares a room with Claire. She begs for her own room because Emma has her own room and often thinks that she does have her own room and Claire is just sleeping over. Some mornings, however, she is the one to get Claire out of her crib (I have no idea how and I don't ask) and bring her down to see Mommy and Daddy when they wake up and it is so sweet to hear her early morning whispers to her baby sister as she cares for her. She is addicted to texting (sorry Norma!) and texts everyone she knows. She has mastered a few words and uses emojicons or my spelling help to fill in when she needs it. She still loves to journal and every page is basically the same...mom, dad, emma, madeline, claire, boyd, love, layla and sometimes a little bit of "matthew" thrown in there. She's obsessed with numbers. She sits at the dinner table just blurting out random numbers or asking for the answers to addition or math problems. She has mastered a few of the basics and loves to write them out on paper or just talk about them in conversation. She is completely silly, she is in love with her daddy, she dressed herself the minutes she gets up everyday and stands in front of the mirror brushing her hair. She is still as compliant as ever and just wants to please and do what's right. She loves big and she loves hard and she's completely unwavering.

Claire. Oh my goodness Claire. She is hilarous. Being the baby of the family is starting to rear it's head in her. She knows that she is adored and she has a captive audience and uses it to her full advantage. The dinner table is like the Claire Show. She goes absolutely crazy singing, dancing, making funny faces and she has the four of us laughing hysterically. She even likes to crack jokes. When Ryan leaves for work in the morning, you can see the wheels turning in her head and then she'll blurt out something like "Bye baby bottle!" and then give a little smirk. We are constantly cracking up because of her and I am constantly amazed that a two year old can be so intentionally funny. She is doing great walking and going up and down the stairs. There are plenty stairs in the new house for her to practice on. She has even started to run...she has a funny way of pumping only her right arm when she runs...looks oddly cute :) She talks up a storm and apparently has developed a raspy little voice that is so perfectly squeaky and cute. She is in love with Uncle Nate and would move in with him if given the chance. She is terrified of the potty, she uses her "ninny" sometimes but knows she doesn't need it and the things that she hates most in the world is time out. If she won't stop being naughty, all I have to do is even mention the words time out. In her little world, there is nothing worse than being in the corner. How can you be the life of the party when you are in the corner? She loves her daddy to death and the worst part of her day is when Madeline gets to go in his car to go to school and she doesn't. It drives her insane. Literally. I love the hours that Mad is at school and I am alone in the house with Claire (and not just because she's asleep for most of it!), but because for that short amount of time that she is awake, I get to focus all of my attention on my baby girl.

So there you have it...sassy, sweet and silly...between all three girls, we've got all the bases covered and I wouldn't trade them for the world!!

life interrupted

It's 2am and thanks to Jill's delicious holiday edition coffee, I cannot sleep. This is the time of night that I lie in bed and my mind starts thinking in "blog speak"...so here I am. Almost four months and a thousand miles away from my last post. We talked at bible study tonight about Jonah and what it means when your life is interrupted. Last time I wrote, I had no idea that in just a few months I would be living in NJ. Sure, it was a thought that I knew was in the back of our (Ryan's) mind, but I honestly had no idea that God had more immediate plans for us. Man, am I thankful that He did. The life I left behind in Fort Myers was amazing. What I thought was perfect. I remember many times (probably every day) thinking about how much I loved my life and nothing could get better...a dangerous place to be, I realized, because when you are on top, you can only go down. Or you can go to New Jersey :) Although I left behind many places and people that were precious to me (and whom I miss dearly)...life is more full now than it was before and I didn't even know that was possible.
For someone who is always on the go and who's calendar was always full, I have been relishing the simple life and it has made all the difference. While I once ran around all day (literally and figuratively), I now enjoy just being home....cleaning, cooking, baking (not so good for my figure or the fact that apparently leggings are considered pants in the fall/winter wardrobe), and taking care of my family. Without the stress and tension of always being on the go (and always being in public with way tooo many kids by my side), I have become a much more patient mother....the overwhelming need to lose your cool with your kids is a lot less urgent when you are at home than when they are throwing a tantrum in Target. :) While I gave up living "semi-near" my family, seeing them for short spurts and quick overnight trips every now and then, I traded that for long, meaningful visits with them. We had such great visits this month and I can't wait until they all come back! One of my biggest desires in life has always been for Ryan and I to have friends that are as close as family...we topped that. We have actual family that are close friends. I am loving living near Rachel, Nate, Jodi and the kids. I am loving it so much that I deliver soft pretzels to the office every week just to see them. I am loving it so much that I am baking for them while they watch the game with Ryan on Sundays just because I'm thrilled that they are here. I love that Nate and Rach are the girls favorite people in the world right now and that it makes their day when they see one of them! I love that Emma went from a school that refused to offer her speech therapy to a school that not only recognized her need, but is one of the ONLY schools around that has a therapist who's specialty is stuttering (this is so rare, and such a gift from the Lord). I am so glad that I have been blessed with friends here...that over the past few years through facebook and blogging, I have reconnected with long lost friends that have made this transition so much easier for me. I am thankful for Sara and for how much we have in common. We have so many of the same interests and I feel like our minds just work the same way. I am loving the time that I get to spend with her and her adorable kids. I am thankful for Jill and the common bond we have in our love for the Lord and how she has been able to get me plugged in here so quickly. I am thankful for Beth and the ease of friendship that comes with knowing someone for such a long time. I am thankful for the girls that I am just meeting that I feel will become close friends over time. I love the gorgeous red leaves on the tree outside my bedroom window and the beauty of fall. So yes, here I sit, a shocking thousand miles away from my last post. On the same computer, yet in a place I never imagined. And my life is more blessed than I could have dreamed because of it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

quotes of the day

I love the thousands of little things a day that the girls say that are so distinctive to their personalities....here are my faves from yesterday:

Claire (who I can already tell has a devious side): I walked into her room yesterday and she was sitting playing with Barbies and it was very obviously that she had a dirty diaper. I asked her if she was stinky and she shook her head and told me "No, Barbie did it.".

Madeline (who is always sweet, loving and tries her hardest to make sure everyone around her is happy): I was telling the girls how they grow up so fast and I just want them to stay small and she replied with, "I'm still gonna love you when I'm 12, momma. And even when I'm 13.".

Emma (who loves her dad more than anything in this world): She spent all morning making the perfect art projects for him...drawings of the two of them surrounded by flowers, hearts and butterflies and a poem that said, "I miss you when you are at work. I miss you. I miss you. Every day I miss you." Yup, she has him wrapped around her finger :)

Even when I am exhausted and they are driving me crazy, I try to never lose sight of the fact that each day with tmy girls is such a blessing and these are the moments I will look back on years from now and long for :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

my little monkey....

crazy girls!


we are watching doug for a month while kristin and jason are on vacation....it has been so sweet having my boy back in the house! the first day he was home, emma made a chart entitled "with my best dog" and she writes down what we do with him every day. i saw a journal entry that emma wrote a few weeks ago that said, "i wish for...dog and girl scouts". so, she's getting one of her wishes come true....for a few weeks, at least! the older girls have been great with taking turns walking him and claire loves to give him his bones. it's been fun to have him back in the house...and i'm sure it will be bittersweet when it's time to give him back :(

west palm beach...times two

making pop pop proud on the drums

so amazing to have these birds all over us!
can't believe she got this close!

We've had so much fun crashing Kristin and Jason's house while they've been gone the last two weekends. I love nothing more than uninterrupted time with my family....probably what fuels my love of vacationing!! This past weekend was even better than the first. We spent a night with Holly and her family...it had been four years since I'd seen her...the longest we've ever gone. We went to dinner and to A Latte Fun and it was great to spend the night chatting with her while the kids and the husbands played. Emma and Madeline loved playing with Rileigh...and it was so sweetto see my daughters and Hollly's daughter walking hand in hand :) I wish they lived closer!

We spent the 4th of July at Lion Country Safari...soooo much fun! Claire was in awe of the animals and her face and her exclamations were adorable. I think that Em and Mad liked seeing Claire's reaction more than they liked the animals. They both adore their little sister...she is gonna be one spoiled rotten little girl. That night we watched the fireworks with the Riniker fam in Palm Beach...in the pouring rain. Claire was not a huge fan of the fireworks. She was hysterically funny as usual...she sat in her stroller with her head down and her hands folded with her back to the sky saying, "No look! Not pretty!" whenever I would ask her if she wanted to see. Madeline was actually afraid of the fireworks this year and kept asking to go home and go to bed...I don't know if it was more fear of the fireworks or of her being soaking wet and miserable :( Emma was a trooper...she didn't complain once...I think it's because she was happy to be there with Cole (slight little crush going on there, if you ask me).

We've had a busy but great start to the summer. I am slowly working out the kinks with naptime. It takes some effort to make sure that the girls go to sleep ok since they are in the same room...if they are not tired enough, they tend to get hyper and keep each other up, only to fall asleep right before claire wakes up. That's not ok with me, so I've had to get creative with planning out our days so that I can perfectly time my afternoon siesta :) It's been a process, but so far, so good. The girls have really been enjoying each other's company which has been sweet to watch and easy on me. They are all about playing with babies and stuffed animals right now and although their room has been a mess for a month straight, I can't complain because the tears, emotions and drama have been minimal! I am looking forward to a few quiet weeks at home, enjoying my girls and spending time with friends.....until our next trip. I can't ever stay still for too long!! ;)

Monday, June 28, 2010


The soundtrack to my life is very LOUD... I live in in a blur of phone calls, emails, never ending texts, facebook posts and messages (that I barely remember to reply to) and three little girls that are usually screeching, singing, yelling, fighting, begging, pleading, hanging, squeezing....you get the picture. Every once in a while I feel the need to just escape it all...to not talk to another person, answer another text, not check another facebook status, or have a child hanging on me....just for a little while. Yesterday was one of those days....Ryan was sweet enough to recognize that I had not truly been without the kids in a long time (I'm sorry, but after about 7:00 at night, any relaxation I get does not count because the kids are already sleeping....I'm off the clock at that point....and half asleep myself!) so, he let me loose in the world all afternoon all by myself and it was blissful!!! I wandered around Coach (and scored some new sunglasses!), sat on the patio at Carrabba's with sangria, a salad and a good book, shopped a little more, grabbed some coffee and dessert and went to see a movie.....the best part of it all was that other than a goodnight phone call from the kids, I was in total silence...I tucked my iPhone away and enjoyed the peace and quiet of just being me for a few hours.....and it made waking up to the little voices this morning that much sweeter. :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

it's almost that time......

here's where I've been spending all of my spare time.....getting ready for the big day!! can't wait to celebrate my two little girls! madeline can't wait either...she's been counting down to her birthday for months....now it's just ten days away and birthday talk is all the rage in our house right now :)

june already?

Wow, May was a busy month for us...Ryan was away on business trips for a lot of it and the girls and I had a ton to do to keep us busy in his absence. I took Madeline and Claire to Orlando for a few days to visit with my family for a pre-mother's day celebration. We went to Epcot and stayed at the Nickelodeon Hotel for the first time....Madeline LOVED it. We had breakfast with Spongebob and Dora and spent a lot of time at the hotel's waterpark. Definitely can't wait to go back with the whole family!! Emma wasn't able to miss any school, so she stayed home with Ryan. I thought that she would be devastated to know that we were seeing grammy and pop pop and her cousins, going to Disney and staying at the Nick Hotel without her, but no.....she loved every second of having both the house and daddy to herself for a few days. They went kayaking, out to dinner and ice cream, out to breakfast, on a field trip to the zoo and to a birthday party....they crammed almost as much fun into the two days as mommy and the little girls did! As soon as we got back from that trip, we went to the beach spent an awesome mother's day weekend at The Pink Shell with Ryan's parents. Two days of beach, sun and sand was bliss!!!! Needless to say, I'm dying to go back. I think I could adjust very easily to just living in hotels all weekend long :)

Emma was a rockstar with her teeth today. She does not look nearly as different as I expected her to...I am used to it already. When she smiles, you can't even see her missing teeth (all on the bottom) and I LOVE her new little lisp from having all that air in her mouth!! She was very sleepy for most of the day, but not in pain at all. The dentist gave her a little treasure box to keep her teeth in and she carried it around all day and placed it very gently under her pillow before bed tonight. She was lying in bed trying to force herself to fall asleep and telling me how long she's been waiting for the tooth fairy to come and how she's so glad the moment is finally here. So adorable! Madeline was amazed at Emma's blood and gauze in her mouth and that she got to eat ice cream all day and kept saying that she couldn't wait until one day when she is six and has her teeth come out and has bleed and eats ice cream! When it was time to go to bed, though, she was terrified of having the tooth fairy come into their room and I had to convince her (while winking at Emma) that I would leave a note for the tooth fairy to leave the money on the kitchen counter and not to come into their room. Ok, so I'm a liar, but sometimes you just need the kid to go to bed!!!!

One week from today, Claire will be two. What the heck?!?! This is by far, the longest I have gone without being pregnant in almost seven years. By this time, I am almost ready to pop and here I am with an empty womb! Honestly, I feel that our family is perfectly complete and three is the perfect amount of kids for us...not too few, where I feel unsatisfied, and not too many...we can still really invest in each of them. BUT....it is hitting me more and more every day that my baby making days are behind me and my babies are growing up. Sometime in the next year, my household will be diaperless...FOREVER. To some that may seem like a relief, but to me, it's just one more thing that shows how fast time flies and how they only stay little for such a short time. To think that just a few years ago, I was seeing fertility doctors and fearing that I would never know the joy of being a mom.....and suddenly here I am with three amazing little girls that are growing up so fast. Ok, back to Claire Bear....her personality is really starting to come out....she's hilarious! She has the ability to make anyone who meets her fall instantly in love with her. Her facial expressions are out of control and she's always wanting to put on a show. From the time Ryan comes home at night until she goes to bed, she is constantly performing for him. She talks nonstop...the same way Emma was as a toddler and I LOVE that. I love that this little, tiny pipsqueak can say anything and everything :) She is in love with her sisters....and they fawn all over her. Madeline walks around all day tending to her every need....which equals SPOILED! For as cute as Claire is, she is also a monster....terribly two in every way! I can't dress her, brush her teeth, help her get in or out of her carseat, everything is "I DO IT!!!" and all out tantrums rolling around on the floor screaming her head off. Many times I just leave her there because there is no way I am giving in to her complete brattiness...eventually she gets over it :) I am starting to win a few battles with her (big milestone!) and it's so nice to finally see some progress with her behavior. I can't believe that my baby is gonna be two....didn't she just learn how to walk?! (oh wait, she did ;))

Madeline is all about journaling lately :) She will not go anywhere without a notebook and a pen (I have to pry them away from her at naptime). Considering the fact that she has never been to school yet, she's amazing with her writing. She knows a few key words and names and writes and doodles in her journal and asks me every now and then when she needs to know how to spell something. It doesn't hurt that she has a big sister that she looks up to and sits with everyday when she does her homework! She is a great swimmer...a little fish in the water....she could stay in all day. She, thankfully, has given up her love of "down arms" and now wants to dress in cozy clothes every day...it works out great for me that crewcuts just so happens to make extremely comfortable clothing ;)

Emma has two weeks of kindergarten left (SNIFF SNIFF!!). Her grades are great and her reading is incredible. She read a fifty page book to Ryan last night...it's amazing what one year can do. She has finally hit her stride in school....just in time for it to end. Boo :( Her and her teacher are best buds...Mrs. Johnson has been the best blessing to us this year for Em. Such a fabulous teacher and full of wisdom and she's really helped Emma to come out of her shell. I stopped by the classroom the other day, unexpectedly, to drop something off and Emma was lit up like I've never seen her before. Mrs. Johson walked Emma to the car after school one day last week and said, "Oh, if I could keep her forever!" and Emma was beaming. As a parent, not only is that the nicest thing to hear someone say about your child, but I can't explain how great it felt to see Emma know how much she's loved. While I am looking forward to this summer and to having Emmy around all day, I am not ready for this school year to end :(

Ok, so probably the longest post ever...the end :)

p.s. just noticed that the last picture on the bottom of my blog is of me holding madeline at her 1st birthday party.....was that really three years ago??? can't believe that little peanut is gonna be four next week. either i need to update my pictures or my kids just need to stop growing up!

the first five....

If there is one thing I have learned about Emma, it's that most things in life don't come easily for her. Sooooooooo, in true Emma fashion, she is on her way to the dentist this morning to lose not her first tooth, but her first FIVE! Nope...no loose, wiggly, when is it gonna fall out, first tooth loss here. Instead, she is getting drugged up and having five pulled. Her adult teeth are already coming in and her baby teeth are not even close to being loose yet, so the dentist is taking matters into his own hands :) Her poor mouth is already a mess....it's tiny and there is not enough room for her teeth....the dentist likes to remind me every time I'm in there that we have a lot of work cut out for us and she's gonna need tons of orthodontic work...great! I am waiting on edge to see what she looks like after this morning....kids always look so grown up once they start losing their teeth....it's like a whole new level of "kidness". I remember when each of those teeth came in and darn it, I'm not ready to say goodbye to them yet!!!!! Once again, here I sit, experiencing a whole new first as a mom and wishing that my baby could stay a baby FOREVER. On the bright side, at least I get to play tooth fairy tonight! I'll post some pics as soon as she lets me take them ;)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

i love when....

madeline turns her notebook upside down to write a "w", because she knows that a "w" is an upside down "m" and she's not sure how else to make it.

emma picks out claire's outfit in the morning, changes her diaper and gets her dressed for the day.

claire repeats every single thing I say...the combination of big words and a baby voice is waaaay too cute.

the girls go absolutely crazy when ryan walks in the door after work....and feeling that our family is finally complete because he's home.

Friday, April 23, 2010

claire...in a nutshell

Claire has been TERRIBLE this past week. Absolutely, positively terrible. I don't know if she's not feeling well (though I did take her to the doctor and no illness was found!), teething, or just merely approaching two and ready to raise hell. She screeches and screams all day long and begs for something and then once she gets it, she screams that she doesn't want it. She holds onto my legs constantly, crying and whining and then she'll go into flip out mode and bite or hit the closest person to her (or thing for that matter....yesterday the chair in chick fil a got a big chomp from her). She is absolutely insane right now, and I'm just praying that this phase won't be long lived. The good news is that we have a babysitter coming tonight and she gets to deal with it for a few hours....sorry Amber! ;)

sibling rivalry

Sibling rivalry is at it's worst in our house this morning and I want to SCREAM!!! Emma and Madeline both got Nintendo DS's for Christmas. Emma got a cute little plaid purse/carrying case for hers and Santa did not bring Madeline a case...guess he just couldn't find the right one ;) For the past four months, this has been absolutely fine. Emma has loved her case and Madeline has not even thought twice about the fact that she didn't have one. WELL.....yesterday I found a kit for the DS's that had a car charger (huge bonus....never seen a car charger for a DS before and much needed!), some backup stylus's in case the girls lose theirs, screen protectors, ear buds and a NOT EVEN REMOTELY CUTE CASE. I bought the kit for the accessories and the case was just along for the ride. This morning, I divied up the accessories for the girls and offered the case to Madeline as an afterthought...an ugly case is better than no case, right? That's what Madeline thought. Emma, on the other hand, discovered that Madeline's case had a wristlet strap, therefore making it cool, and it's been war ever since. Seriously????? She's had her own adorable little case for months and her sister has had this cheesy little one for five minutes and the emotions are out of control. Ah, this is just a little taste of why everything has to be even steven around here or little girls will lose their minds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

the art of doing NOTHING

Life for us is usually crazy busy and I love that. I love always having somewhere to go, some fun activity planned for the kids and great friends to share our days with. That being said, the girls have taken turns being sick for the past week and I have absolutely LOVED every second of the solace. I don't think that my house has ever been this clean, my closets this organized, my laundry this caught up, my fridge this stocked (or my blog this up to date!). I'm like a real housewife ;) Seriously, though....it's been so relaxing to be able to stay on top of the household chores and jusy really enjoy downtime with my girls. We've been swimming, coloring, playing in the backyard, making a mess with playdough....it's been quiet and easy and great. The big girls have been getting along great, too, which is a HUGE plus! It's also so nice in the midst of it all to have some peace and quiet during naptime where I can go outside and soak in some sun and spend some time in the word. I'm sure before long, we'll be back to busy-ness with school, doctors appointments, gymnastics, sparkles, small group, bible study, playdates, beach days, park outings, shopping trips, date nights, girls night out, etc...but for now...I'm doing nothing and I'm loving it!!

old soul

Pretty much her entire life, everyone has always referred to Emma as an old soul. She has always tended to be more serious and inquisitive rather than silly and carefree like most kids. This morning, she's reading the newspaper and checking out the local real estate to see if she can find a new house for us. The funny thing is that she is totally serious about it and whenever she finds something noteworthy, she calls me in and lists all of the selling points....she cracks me up!! Love that girl :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The weather is getting warmer and we've been having so much fun enjoying spending time with friends!

super boots

Claire's braces finally came in last week. The therapist told us to put them on her for an hour a day at first and then eventually work up to her wearing them 5-6 hours a day. It's incredible how much stronger and more stable she is when she's wearing them. I can tell that she loves it too, because she gets so excited when I put them on her and once they are on, she's wants to keep them on all day! I found some little plaid sneakers for her to wear them with....could've been waaay worse...with pants, you can't even tell that she's wearing them ;)

Monday, April 19, 2010

madeline's world

What happens when you are stuck in the house with sick kids for the day? Your 3 year old ends up with her own "log"! As ridiculous as it sounds....it's true. Madeline's world is the newest blog to hit the boyd family :) Little bit of typing herself, little bit of help from mommy and she's on her way...check it out at madelinesworldone.blogspot.com! ;)

favorites :)

It's favorites time again! Here's what I'm loving right now....

1. neon colors. Hello 80's! I'm loving little pops of neon color for the spring. My absolute favorite is when they are paired with dull, drab colors...so unexpected and so cute :)

2. The Flat Belly Diet....soooo nice to have a quick and easy routine to follow when I've over done it on the birthday cake and need to get my body back to normal....and the best part is that it really works!!!

3. Proverbs. I have been captivated by the book of Proverbs lately. It holds so much wisdom and such a clear example of what it looks like to live righteously. I can't not read it.

4. weekends. Cliche, I know. But, I love this time of year when we don't have soccer games or football sunday to close in on our weekends...we can be doing everything or nothing, but the point is that we are doing it all together as a family and I live for that!!

5. denim shorts. I am slightly obsessed with my distressed boyfriend jean shorts right now....probably means I'm wearing them a little too often ;)

6. sunshine! I forgot how beautiful springtime in Florida really is. I'm loving every minute of beach time and pool time that we are able to squeeze in...and I'm loving the little bitty tan lines that come along with it!

7. sisterly love . The way that the girls love each other is so adorable I can hardly stand it!! Claire clings to her older sisters and they think she is the most precious thing in the world. It's so sweet to see Emma try to meet every one of Claire's needs....wanting to get her out of her crib in the morning, change her diaper, feed her, dress her, pack a diaper bag for when we go out....soooo sweet!

8. cruising. The easiest, cheapest, best vacation EVER!!!

9. running. Still one of my true loves...if only there were more hours in the day...

10. Getting a babysitter on a random weekday and going out to lunch and shopping with girlfriends......it's like a mini break from reality and leaves me feeling sooooo renewed :)

11. my husband. I feel overwhelmingly blessed that after this many years, I am still absolutely crazy about him.

12. party planning. Since I've had kids, party planning has become my hobby and my outlet for creativity. Madeline and Claire's June birthday party has quickly become my favorite event of the year to plan. June is soon approaching and I am starting to get in full party planning mode...I'm thinking circus theme with pony rides, face painting, popcorn machines....can't wait!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I am in love with the ages of my kids right now and wish that I could freeze time. I love having a six year old who is on the brink of being a big kid, on the brink of learning big things, on the brink of showing me what scary responsibilities lie ahead for me as a mother. I love having a three year old that is old enough to say big words yet little enough to mispronounce them in her adorably cute little voice. I love having a one year old that makes my day with every kiss, every new word and every new mannerism. It is so bittersweet for me to love where they are now, while knowing how quickly time flies and how these days won't last forever. The days are long, the battles are many, the reality of the responsibility in raising them is often overwhelming, but being blessed enough to be their mom is worth every lost hour of sleep, every shred of my patience that's lost and every fear of what the future holds and who they will become. I love my little peanuts.

march madness

March has been a crazy, busy month for us....two big trips for Ryan and one golf event here that he hosted for a few days....and a stomach bug for the whole family in between.

We are in full swing now of Claire's physical therapy on tuesday and thursday mornings. It actually is so much fun for both of the girls....they are essentially in a big room with all new and different toys and balls and while Claire is playing in specific ways that are strengthening her muscles, Madeline is just running around going crazy! Claire is talking up a storm now and listening to her talk is by far my favorite part of the day....like when she walks around the house saying, "come on mommy" whenever she needs something :) She is so excited to be walking now and it's just so sweet to see how proud she is. She walks around the house saying, "I walk, I walk" over and over again. She refuses to let me carry her anymore (though it's often a battle because it's sooooo much easier for me to just pick her up!) so it takes us forever to get from point A to point B, but she is so proud and so happy to be walking that it's just too cute to resist.

Madeline just started gymnastics and she's not sure yet if she likes it "a little bit" or "a lot a bit", but her best friend Layla is there and that's really all that matters. As Madeline told me the other day, she is "a lipstick girl, a candy girl, a gum girl, a Jane girl and a Layla girl"....that pretty much sums it up....those five things are the loves of her life. She's still in her "down arms" phase and will only wear spaghetti straps....I am about to burn a certain orange dress that she has been wearing for the past three months. She'll spill food all over it, sleep in it and then insist on putting it on again the next day. I think everyone we know is sick of seeing it!

Em is loving being in Sparkles club with the girls from church and loves having that to look forward to after school. Last week, they met and had a tea party and made jewelry and took home a bag full of chocolate....just her style :) I can't believe how quickly she's learning how to read. She can pick up a book and read to her sisters...so cute. She's still obsessed with becoming a teacher and she tries so hard to teach Madeline everything she learns in school and doesn't quite get it when Mad's attention span is gone after the first two minutes. She's such a little mom with Claire....the relationship between them is precious. She jumps at the chance to get Claire a drink or snack or help putting her in her carseat, etc. If only she felt the same way about Madeline my days would be much smoother ;)
Ryan just left to go snowboarding today, so I've got a long week ahead of me. When he is out of town, I tend to keep my schedule completely full so that I don't have to think about how much I miss him. We've got an entire week of playdates, lunch dates and dinner dates to look forward to and hopefully it will seem like he's home in no time!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Emma practically bounced her way into the car this afternoon. She was happier and more excited than I have seen her in a LONG time. She raved about her day and all of the highlights from it...this never happens with her...never!!! I even noticed behavior changes in her and a gentleness towards Madeline that I have not seen in a long time. She is happy with a capital H :) I spent so much time praying through the decision to switch her and I am so blessed to see the outcome after only the first two days. God is good and his ways are perfect and I am so thankful for that. It is so encouraging to see your child go from surviving to thriving and I can only pray that this would only be the starting point for that in her life.

And on another note....I just booked our cruise....girl's weekend three weeks from tomorrow....yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

funnies of the day

Took little miss Em to get her "modeling shots" done this week. With all of the stress over moving classes, she has been in rare form the past few weeks...lots of sleepless nights and nervousness has left her with even more attitude than usual. Maria (bless her heart for putting up with it!) was still able to get some good shots of her and I think despite the attitude, Emma enjoyed it maybe a little bit?? When they were finished, Emma told me that she still wanted to be a model, but only the picture kind and that she's never walking down a runway or "that aisle thing" as she put it. She started her new class at school yesterday and she sobbed the whole car ride home, begging to go back to her old class. In the midst of her tears, she asked if she could have some friends over to play because maybe being with some "framiliar" people would make her feel better. So, Colin and Ryan came over to ride bikes and play outside and that cheered her up. The rest of the night as Em talked about her new class, things seemed to look brighter. She made some new friends and everyone in her old class is like "in love with her" and misses her now that she's gone. She's got the best of both worlds :) I was anticipating a rough time dropping her off today, but she hopped right out of the car and seemed eager to get to class....huge answer to prayer! Emma is by far my most emotionally needy/complex child (so far) and she is the one that I worry about the most when she's not with me....I can't wait to pick her up today and hear how day two went for her. Underneath all that attitude is a tender hearted little girl who just doesn't always know how to handle herself and I pray continually that God would equip me to shephard her.
Yesterday morning I was making pancakes for breakfast and as I was struggling to get the griddle out of the cabinet, Claire crawled over, patted me on the back and said, "you ok mama?"....it was the sweetest thing ever!! Then after I managed to pull it out, she clapped her hands and yelled, "good girl!". Oh, how I love her!
Madeline is so refreshing in the fact that she is all about her manners. All day long, even if she is half asleep, it is please and thank you and i'm sorry and i love you's coming out of her mouth. Last time we were at my sister's house, Madeline borrowed a pair of underwear from Jane and she accidentally wore them home. This was four or five months ago and as Madeline went to put those same panties on the other day, she says to me "I'm sorry I took Jane's panties on accident, mommy." I told her it was ok and that next time we saw Jane we would give them back and she replied with, "No, I'm really sorry mommy and I need to call Jane and tell her I'm sorry." Oh goodness, I love her sweet and gentle heart. I am so thankful for her desire to do good and I hope that is a trait that she carries with her always.

Motherhood is such a high calling and I heard a friend today say that she hopes at the end of it all, her children would say that she loved and disciplined them with wisdom and with kindness....I pray those same things for myself.

Friday, January 22, 2010

monkey in the middle

Emma and Claire have been so time consuming lately because of school and medical issues and rather than getting lost in the shuffle, Mad has been like a little ray of sunshine thru it all. She is by far the biggest lover of them all....it's hugs and kisses and i "luf" you's all day long. She has been a great sport about being dragged around to doctor's appointments and teacher meetings...she just sings, dances and "lipsticks" her way through it. Lately when I look at her I can see that she is quickly turning from a toddler into a little girl. Her feet are almost as big as Emma's...they've just started sharing shoes and clothes. I've also started noticing that she's much taller than most kids her age....something tells me that she's not gonna be short like her mama. When she is with Emma and her friends, she does not want to be the little sister...she wants to be included right along with the big girls. Sometimes this works out really well and sometimes there are lots of tears and heartbreak :( She tells me all the time that she wants to be five and when I ask her what is so good about five her response is "emma". She loves her big sister and wants to be just like her. She also adores her baby sister and is so sweet and gentle with her. I love to overhear her talking about her sisters to someone and referring to them as "my sista named emma" or "my sista named claio". She loves big and she loves hard and she makes my days so easy :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

emma grace

Tomorrow is Emma's last day in Mr. DiNoto's class at school. As of next week, she will move to Mrs. Johnson's class. Since the beginning of the school year, we have been unhappy with her class placement for several different reasons and finally came to a point where we could not ignore the situation any longer. After much thinking, praying, private school touring and begging...the principal agreed to move her to the other class. I have met with her new teacher several times this week in preparation and geez, do we have our work cut out for us. This new class is much more advanced and much further ahead and I will have lots to do with her at home in the coming weeks to get her up to speed. She is fearful of the change and is not looking forward to being the center of attention on her first day as the "new girl", but I am confindent that this change will be for the best. I'm just hoping that there aren't too many tears when I drop her off the first day....it will break my heart. I've been trying to prep her as much as possible this past week, hoping that it will take her uneasiness away...most of it, at least.

We are starting to plan her birthday party (yay!). I can't believe that she will be six in a few weeks. I am absolutely baffled by how quickly time goes by when you have kids. IT'S HEARTBREAKING!!!!!!!!! She is having her party at The Butterfly Estates...should be cute and fun....I can't wait! I love being in party planning mode....my creative juices are flowing :)

She has decided that she wants to be a model and is very concerned that her school schedule is going to interrupt her career and she's not sure how she will juggle it all. LOL! I told her that first, she's got to actually SMILE in front of the camera and not just glare at it. She says she's willing to try :) I think I feel a photo shoot coming up..... ;)

claire update

I took Claire for her physical yesterday and so far, so good. Her first batch of bloodwork came back negative and the doctor seemed to think that she would only be in the orthodics for a year and by the time she got to school, no one would ever suspect that she had a problem. She also told me to hold off on the MRI for a few months, because she didn't think it was going to be necessary. All around, it was a very encouraging appointment with nothing but good news. :)

As the days go by, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Claire to be so big yet still crawling. When we are at the playground, she gets annoyed and uncomfortable crawling thru the mulch and reaches for me to take her hand and says, " I walk. I walk." Yup..breaks my heart just a little bit. She also gets frustrated when she is crawling along the equipment to get to the slide and the other kids run past her, getting there first. She screams "STOP" at the top of her lungs, trying to get them to come back and let her go ahead. If nothing else, it's a good lesson in patience. Yesterday, I was in my bathroom getting ready and I could hear Claire across the house saying, "mom...i want some" over and over again. When she finally got to me, I realized that she had crawled all the way across the house dragging a loaf of bread next to her to come and tell me that she wanted a peanut butter sandwich. There is something so cute, funny and sad about seeing a child who is big enough to go into the pantry, get a loaf of bread and ask for a sandwich, all while crawling on her hands and knees. :(

On a more positive note, she has made huge progress in the past week in her "super shoes". She's standing pretty steadily on her own and braves a few steps here and there. That alone is encouragement to me that with a little bit of physical therapy and these braces on her legs, she will be up and at it in no time. I'm still waiting for the results from the last batch of bloodwork and genetic testing, but I am prayerful and confident that the results will be good!

Monday, January 18, 2010

where to start?!

Wow, it's been so long since I've blogged and there is so much to catch up on that I don't even know where to start!! Christmas was WONDERFUL as usual :) My parents came to visit for a few days before Christmas and it was so fun to just spend some lazy time with them, enjoying their company. The kids absolutely love it when they get to be with Grammy and Pop Pop! By the time Christmas rolled around, Emma once again believed in Santa Claus and she was up all night Christmas Eve because she swore that she heard the footsteps from his big boots :) Madeline got a gold sparkly purse filled with lipstick and nailpolish and a month later it is still her prized possession...she carries it around from the time she wakes up until she goes to bed at night. Claire did not get as many presents as the other girls, simply because she is still little and I didn't think she would notice...WRONG!!! She was a freak about opening presents this year and opened everyone else's once she ran out of gifts. oops! Emma and Madeline both got Nintendo DS's and Claire was so jealous screaming "mine" and trying to snatch them. Looks like next year we may have to start buying three of everything ;) We had a quiet morning at home with just our family and then Ryan's parents and Rach came over for the rest of the day. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work...I am starting to realize that being a mom/hostess means that I pretty much don't do anything on Christmas now but hang out in the kitchen preparing one meal and then the next. As I was in the kitchen at midnight on christmas eve cooking, I was thinking how much I would rather be the kid in bed trying to sleep while anxiously awaiting christmas morning and not the mom slaving away. Darn!

Our trip to NJ was fabulous! Once again, the kids were way better in the car than I would expect a 1, 3 and 5 year old to be for that many hours. We had so much fun exploring the country and I loved the endless hours of enjoying Ryan's company in the front seat. Pretty much, I'm ready to do it again :) On the way up, we stayed in Asheville for a few days and enjoyed the cold weather and a beautiful city! We felt right at home in Medford....I think I had a play date almost every day we were there and I LOVE catching up with old friends. I finally got to meet Jodi (who I hope will be my new sister in law soon?!) and we hit it off right away. I'm looking forward to spending more time with her and Nate when they come to visit this week!

Claire, of course has had a lot going on lately. I finally decided that enough was enough and I wanted the doctor to look further into why she's not walking. Last week was crazy busy with doctors appointments and lots of bloodwork (12 vials!) and a physical therapy evaluation. The outcome so far is that Claire has "hypotonia" a low muscle tone condition. There is usually a long wait to get an appointment with a pediatric neurologist...the first doctor I called had a five month wait. The second doctor I called had just had a cancellation and asked if I could come in the next day...A HUGE BLESSING! I could not imagine waiting five more months to find out why she's not walking!! The minute the neurologist touched Claire, she told me flat out that she has low muscle tone and that's why she can't walk. Bascially, hypotonia is a symptom of another problem...anything from cerebral palsy to a thyroid problem to a genetic disorder and the list goes on. Claire has an MRI next monday to see if there are any abnormalities in her brain and then we wait on the bloodwork to see what the cause is. The neurologist was very hopeful that the problem would be something treatable because in all other areas of development, Claire is doing great. In her evaluation, she was off the charts for cognitive, speech and fine motor skills. I had to go buy her the UGLIEST! high top walking shoes that I have ever seen (this is payback for how neurotic I am about my kids' wardrobes, I'm sure) and she's shown so much improvement since then....even standing on her own for short periods of time. Within the next week or two, we should be hearing back from Early Steps and getting her PT started and get her fitted for her leg braces (!). I am anxious to get her in them and see how she progresses and to see what she looks like in them :) So far, I have so much peace about the whole situation. I do not think that it is a surprise to God that Claire has this condition. I also do not think that it is a coincidence that she was my only baby that was conceived naturally and was a surprise (shock!) to us. I know that God has a plan for Claire and that she will have an amazing story to tell one day because of it. I believe that she will develop great character from this and I pray that it would build a sweet, caring, compassionate spirit in her. I pray the same for her sisters....that growing up with a little sister that they love so much who is different from other kids will give them a heart that is softened towards other people and that they would know first hand that what's on the outside isn't all that counts. So, leg braces and ugly (hideously ugly!) shoes aside, although I would never desire this for my baby, I am in a way thankful for the good that I know will come from it. God has a plan and His plan is always perfect :)